Patents filed by Taiwanese phone-maker HTC in the US two years ago could have a dramatic effect on Apple’s prospects this year, containing the possibility that Apple will be prevented from selling an LTE version of the iPad and iPhone in the US. The patents in question pertain to the process of data transmission for 4G phones.
Judge Thomas Pender of the ITC, the US trade body that mediates such disputes, gave credence to HTC’s patent claims last week when he stated that he had to be “pretty darn certain a US patent is invalid.” He has told Apple’s lawyer that he doesn’t care if HTC “bought these patents to sue” Apple or not. If HTC wins this battle, Apple may have to face an all-out ban on 4G iPads and iPhones in the US. This could spell disaster for Apple, who will reveal the newest iPhone this Wednesday.
HTC claims that it was the first Android company to sell 4G devices and that its phones were among the first to utilize touch screens. There will most likely be a settlement in this case, yet it is more proof that even Apple isn’t invincible.
Source: Bloomberg Businessweek